Acclaimed by Four Centuries: History of the Cause

Cooperative Factors in Research


By reason of several new undertakings, in the present century research into the history of Franciscan missionary activity in the New World expanded enormously. In this connection, perhaps the most significant development was the establishment in Spain of a center for historical studies largely dedicated to that specific theme.


In 1914 the several Franciscan Provinces of Spain covenanted to maintain a studium dedicated to research into all aspects of the Franciscan movement as it developed in, and spread from, the Iberian Peninsula to other parts of the world. The seat of the coetus sociorum is in Madrid, the national capital. The Colegio Cardenal Cisneros ( so named in honor of the renowned 15th-century Cardinal-Regent) houses a magnificant library of25,000 volumes related in some way or measure to the theme of Franciscanism in Spain and in other parts of the world to which Spanish missionaries brought the Gospel. From that center, there are issued occasional monographs and specialized studies that fall within the purview of the Colegio's program.

In the year of its founding, the Colegio launched an historical journal which during these subsequent decades has maintained the highest standards of scholarship. The Archivo Ibero-Americano contains articles, documents, notes and reviews, which are a mine of information on various themes within the scope of the Colegio's purpose. The Archivo, a quarterly, was published without interruption from 1914 to the year 1936 (First Series), when it was temporarily discontinued because of the Spanish Civil War. Renewing publication when conditions permitted in 1941 (Second Series), to this day the prestigious review continues to bring material of the highest significance for research in the history of Franciscan missionary activity. The files of the Archivo Ibero-Americano are exceptionally rich with fundamental material for the Cause of the Georgia Martyrs.

Largely patterned after the Spanish institution, a similar foundation was established in 1944 by the Franciscan Provinces of the United States. With its seat in suburban Washington, D.C., the Academy of American Franciscan History was planned "to investigate in a scientific way, and to preserve the record of, Franciscan activity in the Americas." In nearly the half century of its existence, especially through its monograph series (which has attained the impressive figure of fifty volumes), and less directly through its quarterly review The Americas, the purpose of the Academy as specified in its statutes was promoted, with at least some indirect benefits for the Cause of the Georgia Martyrs. Relatively little attention was directed to the area of the Florida missions as such; yet the interest which the Academy focused on the Spanish heritage in the New World has served in a general way to lay the groundwork for the Cause of the Georgia Martyrs.

”Rule of l221," ch. 16:10-11, in The Writings of Saint Francis, trans. Ignatius Brady (Assisi: Edizioni Porziuncola, 1983) 77. Henceforth, Brady.

St. Bonaventure, Major Life of St. Francis, chap. 12: I, trans. Benen Fahy in Marion A. Habig (ed.), St. Francis of Assisi: Writings and Early Biographies: English Omnibus of the Sources for the Life of St. Francis, 4lh rev. ed. (Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1983), 721. Cited henceforth as Omnibus.

Ibid., chap. 3:1, pp. 646-47.

Thomas of Celano, The First Life of St. Francis, chap. JO: 29, trans. Placid Hermann in Omnibus, 247.

Ibid., chap. I 5, p. 258.

Bonaventure, Major Life, chap. 9:5, in Omnibus, 701.

St. Francis, "Letter Addressed to the Whole Order," in Brady, 121.

CREDIT: REPORTATIO SUPER MARTYRIO SERVORUM DEi PETRI DE CORPA ET SOCIORUM EJUS ANNO DOMINI 1597 IN FLORIDA OCCISORUM (Editio Tertia "Positionis", 7 Maii 2002)
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REPORTATIO SUPER MARTYRIO SERVORUM DEi PETRI DE CORPA ET SOCIORUM EJUS ANNO DOMINI 1597 IN FLORIDA OCCISORUM (Editio Tertia "Positionis", 7 Maii 2002)
The First Georgia Missions: Our Southern Catholic Heritage, Dr. Paul Thigpen and Katherine Ragan. Illustrations by Pamela Gardner, based on the retablo by Dan Nichols. This retablo is part of the parish patrimony of Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church in Jasper, Georgia

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